Even though the concept of electric cars has been around for well over 100 years it is only over the last decade that we have seen any real movement. The technology is moving ahead in leaps and bounds, investment has reached record levels but still there seems to be a little reluctance amongst the driving community to switch to electric vehicles. There is now a movement within motoring circles pushing for a range of financial and commercial incentives to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles going forward.
EV financial incentives
The area of financial incentives for those looking to switch to electric vehicles has been extremely busy over the last decade or so. Governments across the world have invested significant amounts of money directly into the industry and also via a range of tax incentives for companies and end users. It is likely we will see these financial incentives continue for the foreseeable future but at some point the industry will need to become self-sufficient and tax breaks will eventually be faded out.
Commercial incentives for EVs
In some areas of the world the electric vehicle market is perhaps too small to really push for commercial incentives but in the likes of the US we are seeing an array of commercial opportunities. There is no doubt that the trust factor associated with EVs is improving, take-up is now at record levels but for many people it is that final push, that final incentive, which is missing. So what kind of commercial incentives can we expect in the short, medium and longer term?
Free EV charging
Free charging stations have become commonplace in many of the world’s leading electric vehicle markets. In what can be described as a “chicken and egg situation” there was a need to invest substantial funds into EV charging networks, incentivise users to visit them and then eventually they will incur charges and create a return for the underlying companies. However, companies such as Nissan seem determined to push free charging for the foreseeable future while some independent charging networks are thinking differently.
We saw an interesting development over the last few days whereby Tesla is contemplating charging stations which will remain “free” but offer a car washing service for $40. This is an interesting angle and perhaps one which will entice customers to effectively wash while they wait.
Free EV offers
Many companies around the world are now switching onto the opportunities which busy electric car charging stations would present in the longer term. Whether we are looking at the advertising of offers and special deals or indeed locating a free charging station at your business premises to encourage users to visit, the choices are literally endless. When you consider how many electric car charging stations there will be in the longer term the opportunities for advertising income, to subsidise charging costs, are effectively a win-win for all parties.
The idea free charging will entice many people towards electric vehicles but ultimately we will see a change in business models. Whether we move towards a straightforward charging structure or perhaps a subsidise offering whereby third parties will be allowed to advertise their services, or locate charging stations on their premises, interesting times are ahead for the electric car charging companies. At the end of the day short to medium term incentives, both financial and commercial, will entice more people to cross that line but ultimately there will be a direct or indirect charge for consumers going forward. Nothing is free in this world!